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Robin Smith / July 23, 2018

The Politics of Immigration

Illegal immigration has jumped in the polling as the top issue for voters in the midterm elections.

Over the last few weeks, illegal immigration has jumped in the polling as the top issue for voters in the midterm elections. These polls are perhaps a snapshot reflecting the Trump administration’s separation policy impacting children whose parents were detained at different facilities. Breathless 24/7 media coverage was complete with photos featuring children in wire pens, more closely resembling cages. The outrage was everywhere, and Americans took notice. And in essence, that’s what pollaganda is: The media runs endless stories and then polls Americans to see if it worked. The polls are then reported as news to keep the churn — and advertising revenue — going.

On June 9, a Reuters poll recorded the economy and jobs as the most important issues to voters, with health care and immigration following behind. Within two weeks, immigration had surged to become the number one issue. The Leftmedia and Democrats exploited President Donald Trump’s zero-tolerance enforcement as a way to foment voter outrage ahead of the elections.

It didn’t take long, however, for images of caged children to be traced back to the Barack Obama administration’s identical practices of separation of children and alleged parent to address human trafficking. That’s right — adults were bringing other people’s children into America as a mask to circumvent law enforcement efforts. And while the greater enforcement produced about 2,000 separations of children from their actual parents, Obama and his secretary of homeland security, Jeh Johnson, engaged in the same practice.

The Reuters poll was essentially replicated with a July 18 Gallup Poll that showed a record-high acknowledgement of illegal immigration as the top issue. The 22% of respondents saying so was dramatically higher than the 5% average over 17 years of asking participants to name their top issue in the monthly survey. As for partisan breakdown, Republicans cited immigration as the top issue 35% of the time, while Democrats were at 17%.

Clearly, the partisan divide portrays this issue from different vantage points, but a few facts must be stated and acknowledged in the role of this issue in the ongoing election cycle.

Democrats are energized because immigration simply provides campaign fodder to attack Trump and congressional Republicans, who Democrats always accuse of hating minorities. Never mind that it’s Democrats whose policies institutionalize poverty, enslave children in failing schools, and embrace government as the “family provider” for its dependents.

Republicans are likely equally mobilized and angered, primarily because they’re tired of being cast as “racist” for supporting law enforcement.

But there are a couple of truths that may be overlooked in this sudden surge of immigration interest.

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, California, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, and Vermont are either legally or effectively “sanctuary states.” Of these states that welcome illegal immigrants to enjoy the rights of law-abiding, tax-paying citizens in the United States, only Illinois does not have a gubernatorial race this year. Obviously, however, all states have House members and state legislators on the ballot. This is important because many governors’ races as well as legislative races are very active in promoting differences between candidates with the support or opposition of the critical discussion around sanctuary city and state status and laws.

So while the emphasis of our national media revolves in the orbit of DC politics, don’t miss the importance of these state elections on this issue. For example, Oregon, after a petition drive to place the issue on the November ballot, will allow citizens to overturn its state’s sanctuary state law. Immigration is, indeed, a key issue in the federal midterms, but much of the interest is being driven by state politics.

Nonetheless, immigration may be the issue that most demonstrates the inefficiencies of Washington. It turns Republicans and Democrats alike into the DC Elite, who enjoy governance that protects the status quo rather than solving problems. Despite repeated promises to “fix” the broken immigration system since President Ronald Reagan’s 1986 amnesty, neither Republicans nor Democrats have risen to the occasion, even when controlling the White House and the Congress in their respective majorities. For three decades, politicians have recited the problem and offered pandering platitudes with no real solutions. That’s left jaded voters on the Center-Right and turned Democrats into the open-border party aiming to exploit a new pool of voters that will fall prey to their identity politics schemes.

Democrats of all stripes now advocate somewhere along a sliding scale of open borders with little to no enforcement. The recent evidence is the move to abolish ICE — the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. Just this past week, only 18 of the 194 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives voted for a resolution supporting the agency’s mission of law enforcement of America’s immigration laws. Some 35 of them voted in opposition and another 133 cowered behind a vote of “present.”

Democrats love children when they’re used to bludgeon Republicans for what the Obama administration did for years. Democrats want the immigration issue to live on as a recruiting tool to their dwindling ranks as some #WalkAway from the #Resistance and socialism.

Yet too many Republicans can’t find their vertebrae to articulate the value of national sovereignty or the integrity of citizenship to the greatest nation on the planet. And conservative voters have grown weary of the impotence of elected Republicans who fear their own shadow when it comes to immigration votes, and in general can only stammer when the expectation comes their way to defend a Trump policy.

Today’s immigration debate can be boiled down to this: The issue has become little more than a campaign gimmick for politicians and an increasingly worrying topic for most Americans. Will that change anytime soon?

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